Why the new Construction Codes of Practice mean building a basement is not so simple

One day Mummy pig said to Daddy pig “We need more space in our house for our little piglets, they are driving me mad running around our little box house!” Many of you can probably relate if you’ve been subjected to back to back Peppa Pig episodes where everything is simple and straightforward and of course has a happy ending!

Unfortunately back in the real world things are not quite so simple, especially in London where greater restrictions are in place for basement extensions following the launch of the Codes of Construction Practice.

You’re welcome to read the full document here but if you’d rather save yourself from falling asleep at your computer read on to see a quick summary of the key points.

Current restrictions in London

First let’s take a look at what restrictions are currently in place in the London Boroughs. There’s the planning restrictions for retro fit basements led by The Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea and followed by most others. Then came the supplementary planning guidance documents for the detail (as they say the devil is always in the detail) and more lately led by RBKC and now Westminster is the Codes of Construction Practice (CoCP) for the boroughs.

So what does the new Codes of Construction Practice mean for Basements?

Well firstly without any notice, the City of Westminster has applied the new CoCP to basements immediately whereas other works are to be compliant from September 2016.

This means as part of the upfront process any proposed basement applicant will have to comply with the following:

  • A basement is defined as a level 2 project therefore it will be a condition of planning consent to comply with the CoCP.
  • Environmental matters including liaising with neighbours in advance of works.
  • Hoarding information for emergency contacts.
  • Be a member of Considerate Contractors scheme.
  • Employing local operatives for the works (subject to various needs and numbers depending on the size of the project).
  • Deal with highway matters and traffic management for any deliveries and take responsibility for supplier lorries.
  • Noise monitoring – working hours 08.00am -18.00pm but Monday to Friday only.
  • No site huts on or over roadways which could be an issue for tight site locations.

For a full list of requirements for basement applications please refer to the full report.

The changes also mean that if your project overruns by 1 year or more you could be liable for charges with your local authority which could be as much as £20,000!

To avoid unforeseen costs like this it is essential to engage with a professional company, such as an ASUC member, to ensure peace of mind and help you plan everything out before putting a shovel in the ground.

For more details on ASUC members and the warranty cover offered on basement projects please visit www.asuc.org.uk.

By Rob Withers
Executive Director of ASUC
(with two grandchildren, both mad on Peppa just in case you were wondering!)

Please Note: Every care was taken to ensure the information in this article was correct at the time of publication. Any written guidance provided does not replace the reader’s professional judgement and any construction project should comply with the relevant Building Regulations or applicable technical standards. However, for the most up to date LABC Warranty technical guidance please refer to your Risk Management Surveyor and the latest version of the LABC Warranty technical manual.

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